Anil, an eight-month-old toddler, is the youngest among the three children of Ravi and Laxmi. Hailing from a very poor socio-economic background, they live in a small room in Ravi’s sister’s house in a remote village in the state of Telangana, India. Ravi makes his living by selling old clothes on the roadside in the nearby town or by doing daily wage jobs. Laxmi takes care of their three young children at home.
Their challenging life became a living nightmare when they realized their son Anil could not see! Ravi and Laxmi didn’t know where to go or what to do to improve Anil’s eyesight. They believed it was the will of God and decided to leave it to fate.
As fate would have it, a community eye health worker named Dhanalaxmi visited the family’s home. Dhanalaxmi was going door-to-door as part of a Hospital-Based Community Eye Health Program being implemented by Operation Eyesight’s partner, St. Gregorios Balagram Eye Hospital. She examined Anil and diagnosed him with congenital bilateral cataracts, meaning his blinding condition had been present at birth.
Dhanalaxmi counselled the family and encouraged them to visit the hospital. At first, Anil’s parents were hesitant to go as they were worried about the high cost of treatment. But after being reassured that the surgery would be provided free-of-charge, they took Anil to the hospital.
Dr. Ravi Kumar, an ophthalmologist, confirmed Anil’s diagnosis and referred the family to the LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) in Hyderabad, which hosts the nearest pediatric surgical eye care unit. Accompanied by Dhanalaxmi, the family made the 60 km trip to LVPEI where Anil underwent cataract surgery in both eyes within a span of a few days – all at no cost to his parents, thanks to the support of Operation Eyesight’s generous donors!
Ravi and Laxmi were overwhelmed with gratitude that Anil had regained his vision and that the treatment had been provided free-of-charge. “God has come to us through Dhanalaxmi,” says Laxmi. “We never thought miracles were possible. We thank both hospitals and all the staff who took such good care of our son.”
Thank you to our wonderful donors who are providing sight-restoring surgery so that children like Anil and others can finally see! Stay tuned for more information on our Hospital-Based Community Eye Health Program model next week.